I remember getting this badge, last August. It made me feel official. It made nursing school...real. I remember looking at the expiration date on this badge, thinking that it was so far away...and wondering what I would go through before it expired. I remember looking around at the other students in the class and wondering what their stories were. Did they have kids? Were they married? What did they do for work? Will they all find this easy, while I struggle alone? Am I the oldest?!?!
April 26, 2013 is not so far away now. In two weeks I will have finished up this last week of classes and my finals week. Crazy.
In the last eight months, I have gotten to know my classmates. Most of us are parents. Most of us are married. Most of them already work in the medical field. I am not the oldest...or the youngest. We have all struggled at one point or another, forced to the edge of breakdowns. A few of us have cried...in front of everyone else. A few of us have medicated ourselves (with prescriptions or alcohol...pick your poison) to make it through. ;)
I have aced tests...and not aced tests. I have been humiliated and embarrassed...and incredibly proud of myself. I have completed more assignments, papers, study guides, care plans and discussions than I care to count. I have procrastinated taking tests up to the last possible minute...and I have...no, I just procrastinated.
I have had some amazingly great experiences at clinicals...and other days that were less of an impact. I have given more shots and more meds than I can recall. I have seen life enter the world and cared for those that would soon leave the world. I have seen some crazy wounds and never once passed out. (Props to you wound care nurses...that is definitely not my calling!) I did my first IV, successfully, with several surgeons watching. (Wait...we don't really do those until next year...no, no I did not. *sigh* It wasn't on a patient or a fellow student, if that helps...) I have seen things...unspeakable things...and never once lost my "nurse face". (Where the patient could see me...) I have never been so scared and excited and grateful for this opportunity, than when I have been in clinicals.
As I creep up on my expiration date, I can only feel...amazed.
I survived my first year.
It wasn't always pretty...it wasn't always easy...it wasn't always fun...but, it was worth it.